Archive for the 'Religion' Category



Properly Defending Liberty Comes Down To One Thing: World View

BY Herschel Smith
1 month ago

There is a stir among gun rights advocates – or at least, presumed gun rights advocates.  On the one hand, there are the open carriers and opponents of I-594 and their advocates in the state of Washington (and other places like Texas and New York where even Sheriffs are recommending that your thrown your SAFE act pistol permit recertification invitation in the garbage), and on the other hand are Alan Gottlieb, Dave Workman, Bob Owens (who seems like a late comer to the pragmatic approach), and many of their readers.  See for instance this article at Zelman Partisans, this one by Bob Owens, and this article, this article, this article, and this article from Mike Vanderboegh.

As you might be able to guess from my history, I am not an advocate of pragmatism.  I have been a vocal and uncompromising opponent of universal background checks (and anything that enables such statism) from the beginning.  But before we rehearse and and expound on the reasons for my opposition, first let’s survey the pragmatists.  Bob Owens’ prose is stunning.

A small group of long gun open carriers lacking the discernment, basic common sense, and the political savvy of your average garden snail made complete fools out of themselves as they dangerously brandished firearms in the Washington House gallery last week during I-594 protests …

… knuckle-draggers like those pictured above don’t understand the long-game, and can’t grasp that the average citizen thinks that a person carrying a long gun to a protest of any sort is most likely unhinged.

We need to do a better job of patrolling our own, folks, because if we don’t find a way to control these cretins, the forces of gun control will be certain to exploit them for every bit of political capital that they can.

“Garden snail” … “knuckle-draggers” … “fools” … “cretins.”  These are words for open carriers normally reserved for web sites like Mother Jones, Balloon Juice, or perhaps Salon.  I am an open carrier (at certain times), and while this example is atypical of open carriers, it’s important to remember that even if it is perceived to be theatrical, it has context and it was provoked.

Earlier this summer, Rep. Jim Moeller took to Facebook and issued what some gun-rights advocates perceived as a challenge.

“I will refuse to conduct the business of the state as long as any ‘open carry’ nuts (are) in the gallery,” Moeller, D-Vancouver, wrote on his Elect Jim Moeller Facebook page.

Open carriers have experience with open carry of weapons being legal but also being bullied about their choices, or even worse, put in an unsafe position because of their legal choices.  It’s also important to remember that while open carry may not appear to be the norm today, it wasn’t always this way in America.

In the colonies, availability of hunting and need for defense led to armament statues comparable to those of the early Saxon times. In 1623, Virginia forbade its colonists to travel unless they were “well armed”; in 1631 it required colonists to engage in target practice on Sunday and to “bring their peeces to church.” In 1658 it required every householder to have a functioning firearm within his house and in 1673 its laws provided that a citizen who claimed he was too poor to purchase a firearm would have one purchased for him by the government, which would then require him to pay a reasonable price when able to do so. In Massachusetts, the first session of the legislature ordered that not only freemen, but also indentured servants own firearms and in 1644 it imposed a stern 6 shilling fine upon any citizen who was not armed.

When the British government began to increase its military presence in the colonies in the mid-eighteenth century, Massachusetts responded by calling upon its citizens to arm themselves in defense.

Weapons were used for hunting, self defense, and yes, amelioration of tyranny.  It wasn’t too many days ago that we rehearsed the jihadist attack on Charlie Hebdo and the goofy “reenactment” that the boys from TTAG did.  And goofy it was, but I did have the good sense to observe that “when defending against attackers with foreknowledge and rifles, you would rather have foreknowledge and rifles yourself.”

Islamists are being given sanctuary in the U.S., and Islamic calls to prayer are heard over loud speakers in Detroit, Michigan (and have been for about a decade now).  Beyond that, tens of millions of Hispanics and Latinos have flooded across the border, some of whom included very violent gang members who have been so bathed in violence and death that they are said to perpetrate it not only for the sake of crime, but for the sake of the violence itself.  Some strategists see the capability to conduct criminal operations and perpetrate violence to be far greater among the cartels than any Middle Eastern or Asian Islamic group.

As if the potential need for self defense isn’t enough, America now has two hundred trillion dollars of unfunded liability, now has full orbed socialized medicine, and has aborted more babies than Hitler killed Jews.  The time would have come and already left that the founders of this great nation would have put their foot down and drawn a line in the sand.

But as a community we still seem to be asleep, or at least comfortably deluded.  The most instructive and educational of all of the links I have provided above comes not from the authors, although some are very good, but from the comments.  Consider this one.

As an advocate of freedom, I’m dismayed at the flawed thinking of so many not so responsible gun owners disregarding the efforts of so many responsible citizens that are trying to preserve and restore our 2nd Amendment rights. Many gun rights advocates are working hard to encourage responsible and knowledgeable leadership out of our legislature. The few that want to use a firearm as a tool of intimidation or civil disobedience will make it even more challenging for the rest of us to convince our representatives that an armed society is indeed a polite society.

Next, consider this.

While open carry may not be ‘illegal’ in a particular case, doing so is not often the right thing to do.  There was a time that, even here in California, we could sling a rifle across our shoulders and ride a motorcycle out to the range and no one freaked out. Then, we had the ‘open carry’ crowd start trying to attract attention, gathering in large groups and parading around, getting loud and vocal and,in general, acting like prissy little drama queens. As expected, people reacted.

The first commenter also slammed the open carriers for horrible muzzle control.  I am not defending poor muzzle control, and if they were brandishing or threatening in any way, they need to learn the rules of gun safety and mature a bit before doing this again.  That is both illegal and unsafe.  But that’s a side show compared to the real issue.  To the first commenter convincing his representative is what it’s all about, even though that hasn’t worked to stop socialized medicine, abortion and oppressive taxation.  From the land of make believe we come to the second commenter, for whom the problem started not with collectivists pressing down with statist gun control laws and regulations, but with open carriers who exercised their rights to carry (and what would have been the catalyst for just such a “display” as suggested, he doesn’t say – it just started happening one day I suppose).  Then there is the hand-wringer, what I consider to be the capstone of the anti-open carry argument.

While I support the concept of unfettered right to bear arms, the reality in most of these “United States” is that one’s appearance on the street with a handgun openly strapped to one’s belt is unsettling to the hordes of liberals out there, and their reaction is definitely averse to our rights, and a threat that they perceive, to them.

Whenever CCW is an available alternative, we should prefer it, and avoid any display of firearms to those idiots who oppose our rights. The objective is not to prove some point, it is to be safer and to be better able to defend ourselves and our families, and CCW serves both objectives well.

Someday perhaps, most Americans will recognize that carrying a gun is not a bizarre fetish, but is a commitment that Americans make, in order to be free, and to incidentally guarantee the freedom of those who do not understand. That day has not yet come, and will come more quickly if we avoid unnecessary confrontation.

I yearn for the day when every housewife can choose to openly strap on a handgun when she goes grocery shopping, or to the mall. Until then, CCW is a better pathway to our freedom.

That day will “come more quickly if we avoid unnecessary confrontation.”  Finally, from the delusional to the defeatist.  Consider Sebastian.

I have no problem with the “I Will Not Comply Crowd.” I live in a state with a similar regime to Washington for handguns, and it’s probably one of the most ignored laws in the commonwealth. I have no problem with civil disobedience.  I don’t disapprove of what the sticks have been doing in Connecticut, because I don’t think there’s anything we carrots can do to help the Nutmeg State, for the time being. We’re challenging the law in federal court, and maybe, maybe down the road we could federally preempt it using Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment. That’s thin gruel, and I recognize that. But we are trying, and I think over the long run we have a good chance of being successful.

The big strategic question of gun rights in the last two years of the Obama Administration is how we defang Bloomberg, because he, without a doubt, is the single biggest threat our gun rights have faced since the 1990s. He’s not going to be intimidated by sticks; he has enough money to hire his own private army to protect him if he wishes. He’s not going to be concerned with carrots either, because most of us aren’t billionaires, and don’t have the money to throw around the political process that he does. So what do we do?

And this brings me to my main points.  Background checks are not a problem because they currently constitute a national gun registry.  If you recall my previous discussion on the subject, I played “devil’s advocate” to see just how close the ATF could come to such a monster.  I am still skeptical that the schema is in place (or could be put in place without a lot of additional pain and work).  But the danger in universal background checks is twofold.  First, it would indeed put the procedures and protocol in place for a national gun registry.  Second, it makes the government the ultimate arbiter of God-given rights.

There is an intensely moral element to control of this sort.  Gun control is evil, a sign and symptom of wicked rulersSebastian doesn’t think so.

I really don’t like it when churches insert themselves into political matters under the guise that these are really spiritual matters. Murder, rage, and vengeance — these are all matters of the spirit. Gun control is a matter of politics.

But to the educated man or woman, politics is ethics, which is a category of philosophy, or a description of a comprehensive world view, including metaphysics and epistemology.  It’s all related, and has to do with how you know what you know, how you assign truth value, and what lies beyond the physical.  That which is so intensely moral is not ripe terrain for compromise.  And a proper anthropology – a right view of mankind – knows that “the heart [of man] is deceitful above all things, and is desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9).  Only God understands it, and all attempts by men to divine the intentions and correct the maladies of the heart end in despair and failure.

Lastly, there is an element of eschatology in these demurrals from the pragmatists.  They see failure where many see potential success.  But fear not, God has always had His remnant, and He will not allow liberty to perish from the earth.  The chains always fall off, sometimes by His mighty hand, other times by using us as secondary causes and only by the utmost of peril to our lives, health and wealth – but always by His kind providence.

As much as I detest the propensity to compromise, especially out of fear of defeat, and as much as I loath Gates, Bloomberg and their minions, I don’t think what they do is all that significant.  Nor do I think that Gottlieb is all that significant.  He will be irrelevant in future circles of lovers of liberty, and I don’t think he will sway many minds.  Rather, with one commenter to this piece by Clair Wolfe I think that “the seed of the larger problem lies in the troubling correlation between politically and socially conservative people and their acquiescence to, even active subservience to, authority” (see here also my Foundation of Liberty).

And as much as I am accused at times of “preaching to the choir,” I think that the choir is a rather small ensemble of singers.  The problem is one of heart, or moral fiber, and of faith.  The collectivists turn to the state as their god, and the rulers mutually enjoin the people into the herds who need the state to determine the difference between right and wrong for the great unwashed masses.

Thus, most people would have no basis on which to demur if the state decided to kill every third man named Jerry before NFL games as a sacrifice to the football gods.  Utilitarianism has a very dark side.  For those who would oppose it with force but with no foundation, they are no different than Machiavelli.  The salient and important question is whether the people will wake from their slumber in enough time to prevent the degree of pain that can come from this conflict.  There is a massive cultural and religious war going on in America, and gun control is one front in that war.  People will gird their loins and engage now, or suffer the consequences later.

Faith In God And Fidelity To The Constitution Versus The Rule Of Men

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 3 weeks ago

Mike Vanderboegh does us a service by reminding us of Peter Muhlenberg.  I’ve read it before, but my favorite anecdote goes as follows.

Coming to the end of his sermon, Peter Muhlenberg turned to his congregation and said, “In the language of the holy writ, there was a time for all things, a time to preach and a time to pray, but those times have passed away.” As those assembled looked on, Pastor Muhlenberg declared, “There is a time to fight, and that time has now come!” Muhlenberg then proceeded to remove his robes revealing, to the shock of his congregation, a military uniform.

Marching to the back of the church he declared, “Who among you is with me?” On that day 300 men from his church stood up and joined Peter Muhlenberg. They eventually became the 8th Virginia (Regiment) fighting for liberty.

I’ll also remind you of what my own professor, Douglas Kelly, said of the role of religion in the war of independence.

Their experience in Presbyterian polity – with its doctrine of the headship of Christ over the church, the two-powers doctrine giving the church and state equal standing (so that the church’s power is not seen as flowing from the state), and the consequent right of the people to civil resistance in accordance with higher divine law – was a major ingredient in the development of the American approach to church-state relations and the underlying questions of law, authority, order and rights.

[ … ]

It was largely from the congregation polity of these New England puritans that there came the American concept and practice of government by covenant – that is to say: constitutional structure, limited by divine law and based on the consent of the people, with a lasting right in the people to resist tyranny.

If you don’t do anything else today, read Mike’s whole article, and then read mine.

Let Him Who Has No Metaphor Sell His Robe And Buy One

BY Herschel Smith
4 months ago

Midland Daily News:

Since this verse comes up frequently in discussions of gun control, let’s destroy this argument once and for all. First, let us examine the full context of the verse by including the following two verses. “He said to them, ‘But now, let him who has a purse take it, and likewise a bag. And let him who has no sword sell his mantle and buy one. For I tell you that this scripture must be fulfilled in me, ‘And he was reckoned with transgressors'; for what is written about me has its fulfillment.’ And they said, ‘Look, Lord, here are two swords.’ And he said to them, ‘It is enough.’

The New Oxford Annotated Bible has this to say about the passage. “An example of Jesus’ fondness for striking metaphors, but the disciples take it literally. The sword apparently meant to Jesus a preparation to live by one’s own resources against hostility. The natural meaning of verse 38 is that the disciples supposed he spoke of an actual sword, only to learn that two swords were sufficient for the whole enterprise, that is, were not to be used at all.”

Anyone who has read the Gospels knows that Jesus was fond of metaphors. Matthew 23:24 – “You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!” Or Mark 10:25 – “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Clearly, Jesus had no intention of inflicting either of these painful actions upon any camels. So, presuming that everything Jesus said was to be taken literally is groundless.

Jesus frequently used physical objects (seeds, lamps, vineyards, coins, lost sheep, etc.) to teach universal truths, and the same is true of the two swords. This interpretation is supported by Matthew 10:34: “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth, but a sword,” (another verse often misquoted by gun advocates). In proper context, Jesus did not mean a physical sword that cuts up and bloodies the family, but a spiritual and moral one that may divide families nonphysically.

Biblical scholar Bart Ehrman labels a literal interpretation of Luke 22:36 as an absurd contradiction. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus teaches peace.

[ … ]

Therefore, the words of Jesus in Luke 22:36 are not to be understood literally, that he would have his disciples furnish themselves with swords. His meaning is that, wherever they went and a door was opened for the preaching of the Gospel, they would have many adversaries. They would be met with violence, followed by rage and persecution. The phrase expresses the danger they will be exposed to.

Obviously the author is a believer in German so-called “higher criticism” (Source, Form and Redaction criticism).  This is so “yesterday” that most churches who believe this are dead or dying and certainly waning in influence.  But apparently they are still around causing trouble for folks.

To be sure there are different types of literature in the Bible, allegory, apocalyptic and so on.  Each in turn must be interpreted within the correct hermeneutical framework in order to get the right meaning.  But this particular assessment violates the most basic principle of all interpretation.  The more complex passages are interpreted in light of the simpler, and any deliverance you might concoct that runs contrary to the warp and woof of the balance of Scripture is obviously wrong and you need to go back to the beginning and try again.

Even if Jesus had intended to convey an additional (or even another) interpretation of what he said there, He didn’t rebuke them for having the items they counted in order to answer the master’s question.  The disciples weren’t holding metaphors – they were holding fixed-blade swords.  Jesus didn’t tell them to throw them away, even if our detractor is correct in his assessment of the passage (and I claim that he’s not).  The disciples had swords before Jesus told them to find themselves a weapon, and they had they afterwards.  The assessment fails at every turn.

Additionally, as I mentioned before, this assessment fails to consider the warp and woof of Scripture.  I have never turned to this passage for demonstration of the right and even duty of self defense.  As I’ve summarized before:

I am afraid there have been too many centuries of bad teaching endured by the church, but it makes sense to keep trying.  As I’ve explained before, the simplest and most compelling case for self defense lies in the decalogue.  Thou shall not murder means thou shall protect life.

God’s law requires [us] to be able to defend the children and helpless.  “Relying on Matthew Henry, John Calvin and the Westminster standards, we’ve observed that all Biblical law forbids the contrary of what it enjoins, and enjoins the contrary of what it forbids.”  I’ve tried to put this in the most visceral terms I can find.

God has laid the expectations at the feet of heads of families that they protect, provide for and defend their families and protect and defend their countries.  Little ones cannot do so, and rely solely on those who bore them.  God no more loves the willing neglect of their safety than He loves child abuse.  He no more appreciates the willingness to ignore the sanctity of our own lives than He approves of the abuse of our own bodies and souls.  God hasn’t called us to save the society by sacrificing our children or ourselves to robbers, home invaders, rapists or murderers. Self defense – and defense of the little ones – goes well beyond a right.  It is a duty based on the idea that man is made in God’s image.  It is His expectation that we do the utmost to preserve and defend ourselves when in danger, for it is He who is sovereign and who gives life, and He doesn’t expect us to be dismissive or cavalier about its loss.

This same sort of thinking can be applied on a larger scale to states and nations as so expertly done by professor Darrell Cole in Good Wars (First Things), relying on the theology of both Calvin and Aquinas.  But this is a bridge too far for some Christians who are just now dealing with the notion that they might be in danger.

Now a word of advice for the pastor who proffered this laughable interpretation.  It’s things like this that cause congregants to lose respect for the pulpit, and nothing screams the irrelevance of the sermon more than the Biblical impossibility of the pronouncements of the pastor (or in other words, the inconsistency of what he says with the balance of Scripture).  It’s just best to leave your own political aberrations out of the pulpit and teach the Bible.

Prior: Let Him Who Has No Gun Sell His Robe And Buy One

Why Does My Son Play With Guns?

BY Herschel Smith
4 months ago

Questions from Cleveland:

My son brandished a wooden train track in a plastic bridge.

“It’s a shooter!” he said, pointing it at me. “I’m spraying you in the face with water.”

“We don’t shoot at people,” I said, by rote. It was an oft-repeated directive when my little brother was into guns and cowboys.

But my mind was churning. Where did my almost 4-year-old get this stuff? How did he know what a gun was? We don’t own any guns, aside from a water blaster shaped like an alligator. He’s never seen any violent TV show or movie. Is playing with guns just inborn in boys?

“This connection is likely — like most things — a combination of genetics and environment,” said Joshua Weiner, an Arlington, Virginia-based psychiatrist who specializes in children and adolescents. “Boys probably have some yet-unknown gene which contributes to this behavior.”

Just like girls must have some ingrained penchant for shoes and purses. My 20-month-daughter adores purses, whether it’s my purse or a kids gardening tote she stuffs with trains, puzzle pieces and plastic food. She drags them around the house. And she is constantly playing with my shoes, particularly a pair of shiny tortoiseshell ballet flats.

At first I didn’t want to encourage the purse-and-shoe thing. It’s such a stereotype. “But she’s just emulating you,” said my mom. So I gave in. I gave her an old Lululemon bag to stuff. And I bought her a fluffy bunny purse for Christmas.

I don’t intend to ever buy my son a toy gun.

But I’m not especially worried that he pretends to have one, especially if in his dreamworld his gun shoots water. Should I be?

Probably not.

No study has proved that pretend gunplay leads to violent behavior. And most child experts agree that forbidding gunplay only makes it more powerful and enticing.

Besides, gunplay can even help kids make sense of their world, by letting them “kill” bad guys.

God made men and women to be different, and gave the responsibility of provider and primary protector to the man.  It’s His design.  Since it is His design, he gave men and women the genetics and disposition to effect those ends.  Of course these genetics and dispositions can be turned towards evil, but so can just about anything else.  That’s irrelevant to the primary goals.  It has been this way from the beginning of time.  Understand it, don’t fight against it.

I’m glad I could clear that up.

God, Guns And I-594

BY Herschel Smith
4 months, 1 week ago

It had to happen.  Some misguided clerics think they need to tell folks that God like I-594.

Charles Stephens, the show’s director, was deeply affected by the tragic shooting at SPU. “We rehearsed there, and everything was going great, and then there was the shooting that happened,” Stephens said.

He decided to reschedule the concert, this time as a fundraiser for the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility. That’s the main group pushing I-594. The initiative would institute comprehensive background checks on firearms.

Stephens approached Katie Ladd and asked if he could use her church, the United Methodist Church. She said yes.

“To be a follower of Jesus, who I believe is the Prince of Peace, we have to make stands for peace,” Ladd said. Pastor Ladd feels it’s her responsibility as a Christian to advocate for anti-gun violence laws.

“When asked what the greatest commandment was, you know Jesus says Love the Lord G-d with all of your heart, your mind, your soul and your strength and your neighbor as yourself,” Ladd said. “It seems to me, it’s pretty basic thing to say that we don’t want to kill one another.”

So here’s a question for you lady.  Since you’re so big on not wanting people to perish at the hands of others, how about when a home invader enters your home with the intent of raping and murdering your children?  Isn’t it the case that you’re hating your children and wishing death on them at the hands of the perpetrator by not defending your home?

Notes From HPS

BY Herschel Smith
4 months, 3 weeks ago

David Codrea:

“That is nonsense,” he responded to the contention that arms are needed to defend freedom, revealing just where he stood (still stands?) on citizens resisting the tyranny he now warns against. “If the government wants to take your rights away or imprison you for whatever reason, your owning an assault rifle is not going to stop it.

Trying to take away my guns would be a very messy and ugly affair, and notice how Savage doesn’t say who exactly is going to do the taking.  Advocates of gun bans never consider that they advocate putting someone else in harm’s way.

Mike Vanderboegh has a long and interesting post on Ralph Peters’ book “Wars of Blood and Faith.”  Mike remarks:

Peters’ eye is focused on the world picture of 2007, not the American domestic reality as we experience it now after 7 years, most of them reflecting the neo-tyrannies of the Obama regime. Yet Peters’ description of the elites of both parties and of the permanent Mandarin bureaucracies that serve them is even more accurate today. And the disconnect between their collectivist ideologies /slash/ godless-religion and the deeply held beliefs of those of us who still revere the Founders, seek liberty, and worship the God of Abraham, Moses, David and the Christ could not be any more stark than that between us and the beheading savages of the Islamic State.

As I have observed before, we are a nation divided along the answer to the existential question, “Does the government serve the people or do the people serve the government?” This is a political question, yes. It is an intellectual question. It is a question of competing and mutually exclusive world views. It is thus also a moral question. It is a religious question. It is a question of blood and belief, to use Peters’ words.

I enjoyed Peters’ book and can always take away something from his interviews.  But I don’t always agree with him, and one specific black mark on his book is its tendency to lump all religious view into the same category.

But I too disagree with Peters and his diagnosis of the malady.  I must unfortunately wax philosophical for a moment and recommend that you read the first chapter of Gordon H. Clark’s “Religion, Reason and Revelation.”  Clark utterly demolishes all attempts to define religion by showing how those who would do so set out boundary conditions for the definition that reason in a circle (or assume the consequent).  It’s best to discuss these matters in terms of world view, or philosophical systems.  Christianity is a system, or world view, as much as Dewey’s instrumentalism, Mill’s utilitarianism, communism or any other ‘ism.  It just happens to be the truth, but that is beside the point.

The point is that communism is a faith as much as Christianity is a faith, and it is much of a world view as Christianity is a world view.  As far as Islam is concerned, it is a political faith more than anything else, and a totalitarian one at that.  There are many manifestations of evil, but the most prominent one in politics is totalitarianism.  Separating Islamists from communists isn’t a very useful or meaningful bifurcation, and I think Peters has missed the boat on this one.  Yesterday it was the communists, today it’s Islam, today and tomorrow it’s the contemporary manifestation of communism in America.  They are different faces of evil.  But “there is nothing new under the sun,” as the wise man said.

Christian Leaders Say No To Christian Militia

BY Herschel Smith
6 months ago

I have previously attempted to explain and rebuke the pacifist sickness that affects the Christian Church, but it seems that the examples of said sickness are sadly numerous and still surfacing.  Apparently, many Christian leaders would rather see their parishioners and congregants beheaded than defended.

The Kurdish government wants to give weapons to Iraqi Christians so that they can defend themselves, but there are (not surprisingly) Christian leaders who are actually against the giving of arms.

The lending of guns to the Christians is desired by President Masud Barzani of the Autonomous Region of Kurdistan, who said he is willing to commit to the idea. But Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako I responded that the idea of weapons to the Christians would be destructive, saying “the forces of the state should take charge of this defense” and that such a diversity of militias “can destroy Iraq”.

Lebanese Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai also gave his objections to the idea of a Christian militia, saying that it would be “illegitimate” and that it would result in “law of the jungle and an increase in crime.”

Both Catholic and Evangelical voices objected to the protest of the Patriarch on giving weapons to the Christians. Kishore Jayabalan, Rome director of the Catholic organization, Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty, said

I understand why the patriarch doesn’t want to see Christian militias in place of the state’s protection of all its citizens, as it is a fundamental duty of a state to do so… But the problem is that [state protection] isn’t happening, and something has to be done to stop the gruesome attacks of the Islamic State.Jayabalan also made it clear that a militia is the only choice for the Christians because no nation is helping them:

What authority can they appeal to? Western governments won’t act effectively because they fear being seen as sectarianEvangelical pastor Michel Youssef, an advocate of armed Christian civilians in Iraq, said:

only way to protect our families and friends from attacks, because we are tired of waiting for an action from the government, which is preoccupied with politics and never looks after us.Benjamin Harnwell, founder of the Catholic Rome-based think tank the Dignitatis Humanae Institute, said

The right to defend oneself is a clear doctrine; it’s a fundamental human right, an inalienable right, and people lend the exercise of that right to the state…The first duty of the state is to protect the people, but if the state is unable to fulfil this, then the right to defend oneself reverts to the person, because such a right cannot ever be taken from that person — and nor can it ever be given away; it cannot be ‘alienated.’ This is literally what we mean when we say the right to defend oneself is inalienable … The fact that the state is unable to defend its citizens means there is already the law of the jungle in operation — it’s the perfect example of lawlessness… And preventing minorities who are being systematically wiped out from defending themselves will only work in favor of the aggressor.

One source close to the Vatican even said that the objections toward a Christian militia was a sign of appeasement and acquiescence to ISIS.

Christians definitely need to form a militia, under the liberty of God and the natural law of man, they must become militant.

But sadly, they won’t.  They have waited too late to “weapon up.”  And witness what happens without self defense.  Pat Dollard links a Live Leak video in which ISIS fighters promise a “Christian” (I have no idea if he really was a Christian) converting to Islam that Allah is merciful and he will be spared.  The man converts, and the ISIS fighters promptly behead him anyway.

There is one thing in particular that needs to be corrected in the perspective cited above, and it is that “The first duty of the state is to protect the people, but if the state is unable to fulfil this, then the right to defend oneself reverts to the person, because such a right cannot ever be taken from that person …”

No, and a thousand times no.  It is not either-or, it is both-and, and the order is wrong.  The state is responsible, to be sure, for protecting nations against invasion, and our pitiful nation refuses to meet even the simplest of responsibilities like this by securing the Southern border.

But let’s be clear.  The first duty to protect rests with a man and his home, not the state protection for the man or his family.

Do you understand?

Gentlemen, Prepare To Defend Yourselves!

BY Herschel Smith
6 months, 2 weeks ago

Glenn Reynolds recently linked an article at World Net Daily where Christians are being told to weapon up and fight back against jihadist fighters in Nigeria because the government won’t protect them against Boko Haram and others who intend them harm.  This kicked off a conversation between me and my son over the response of the Christian church worldwide, a church I have variously called weak, pathetic, pitiful, disgusting and repulsive (I have that right because I’m a Christian).

I have [previously] asked when is the last time a reader had even heard a prayer in worship for Christians being slaughtered across the globe? (This week was the first indication that anyone cares, with a note from Leith Anderson, head of the National Association of Evangelicals, to pray for Iraq, after Christians have been slaughtered and driven from their homes for more than three years (and the church in Mesopotamia having disintegrated).  What?  No imprecatory prayers at all?  We’re too busy trying to disarm each other to pay attention to the suffering of Christians rather than our own comfort.  My son, in disagreement (of course) with the anemia of the global church, demands to know why we aren’t arming Christians across the world from the offering plate.

To this I explained that there are a number of complicating factors in such a proposal.  First of all, arming Christians in Iraq or Nigeria involves export of firearms which falls under a whole gaggle of federal laws.  To avoid that the church would have to find a weapons trafficker to get the arms to the Christians under attack.  In the unlikely event that a pastor anywhere had the stomach for this, the weapons cannot be gotten to the Christians now anyway.  They are surrounded and cut off, or scattered to the four winds as they run for their very lives.

A good summary statement of where the Christians are at the moment might be this: they waited too late to think about self defense.  They waited too late not because of the mistaken notion that the jihadists would have mercy on them, but because there is a basic sickness in the worldwide church.  This sickness, which is the root cause of the problem, is anti-intellectualism and bad hermeneutics.

Christians justifiably hold high regard for what the Scriptures teach.  But failing proper interpretation and application, unlearned Christians are at the mercy of teachers and pastors who have been brainwashed at liberal seminaries in the art of form, source and redaction criticism, and deconstruction.  Many seminary professors no more believe what the Bible teaches than my dog believes in Newtonian physics.

The Bible gets (intentionally) conflated with social action and a thousand other things, and one consequence of this, just to bring this around to the main subject, is that Christians the world over are in large part pacifists.  The honorific title of “Prince of peace” governs the interpretation of words like “My kingdom is not of this world,” “turn the other check,” and “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.”  That He can become angry and jealous and full of wrath are seldom discussed.  It’s what theologian John Frame calls an “exclusive reduction” of God to one characteristic, like “God is love” (which is poor hermeneutics) versus an “emphasizing reduction” (which can be temporarily useful for teaching).  Passages are ripped out of context without regard to the rules of hermeneutics or other passages of the Bible and the need for logical consistency.

But despite bad hermeneutics, there is no unmitigated promise from God to protect His people without regard to their foolishness, if they will only trust Him for their provisions.  In order to prove this notion false all one must do is find a single example where Christians were killed en masse.  Such an example isn’t hard to find, as it is estimated that Hitler killed some three million Christians during his evil reign in addition to the millions of Jews, including some half a million clergy.  Another instance of Christians perishing at the hands of evil men can be taken from Stalin’s starvation of the Ukraine, what may be called the holocaust by hunger.  Christians were certainly among the seven million souls who perished in the Ukraine in the 1930’s.  So David’s comment that he has never seen the children of the righteous “begging for bread” (Ps 37:25) must be a normative statement rather than a promise.  In fact, the entire approach to interpretation of the so-called “wisdom literature” in the Bible is different from say, didactic (Romans and Ephesians) or apocalyptic (Revelation) literature.

I am afraid there have been too many centuries of bad teaching endured by the church, but it makes sense to keep trying.  As I’ve explained before, the simplest and most compelling case for self defense lies in the decalogue.  Thou shall not murder means thou shall protect life.

God’s law requires [us] to be able to defend the children and helpless.  “Relying on Matthew Henry, John Calvin and the Westminster standards, we’ve observed that all Biblical law forbids the contrary of what it enjoins, and enjoins the contrary of what it forbids.”  I’ve tried to put this in the most visceral terms I can find.

God has laid the expectations at the feet of heads of families that they protect, provide for and defend their families and protect and defend their countries.  Little ones cannot do so, and rely solely on those who bore them.  God no more loves the willing neglect of their safety than He loves child abuse.  He no more appreciates the willingness to ignore the sanctity of our own lives than He approves of the abuse of our own bodies and souls.  God hasn’t called us to save the society by sacrificing our children or ourselves to robbers, home invaders, rapists or murderers. Self defense – and defense of the little ones – goes well beyond a right.  It is a duty based on the idea that man is made in God’s image.  It is His expectation that we do the utmost to preserve and defend ourselves when in danger, for it is He who is sovereign and who gives life, and He doesn’t expect us to be dismissive or cavalier about its loss.

This same sort of thinking can be applied on a larger scale to states and nations as so expertly done by professor Darrell Cole in Good Wars (First Things), relying on the theology of both Calvin and Aquinas.  But this is a bridge too far for some Christians who are just now dealing with the notion that they might be in danger.

And danger it is.  If it isn’t out of control SWAT teams in wrong address raids or home invasions by felons, Christians might begin to think about the possibility that jihad will show up on our own shores (jihad version 4.0 includes mass executions, burying people alive and beheading of children).  And if it isn’t that, consider that illegal immigrants have been seen walking armed and in military fatigues in tactical formation (“Ranger file”) across Texas farmland.

But the most pressing danger isn’t ISIS, or felons, or illegal immigrants.  The most pressing danger is the intransigence of the global Christian church in refusing to weapon up and defend themselves.  The Christians in Iraq waited too late, have lost their homes and all of their belongings, and are on the run or sitting on a mountain top thirsting to death (and thirst is a bad way to perish).  I just don’t how to say it any clearer than my favorite actor, Sam Elliot.  If you won’t listen to me, listen to him.

Prior: Christians, The Second Amendment And The Duty Of Self Defense

North Carolina, Harnett County Sheriff Recommends Arming Yourself

BY Herschel Smith
6 months, 3 weeks ago

Guns.com:

With a recent spike in crime, a North Carolina sheriff is following suit of other law enforcement officials across the country by taking what some consider a controversial stance, encouraging area residents to arm themselves for their own protection, a local ABC affiliate reported.

The once rural area of Harnett County has seen a growth in population and with it, crime and violence have increased as well, with a dramatic surge over the last few weeks. In fact, crime has gotten so bad that some residents admit they’re afraid to leave their homes.

Sheriff Larry Rollins thinks the increase can be attributed to gangs and drugs, and in an attempt to combat the growing problem, about 100 people gathered at a local church for a community meeting Monday evening to discuss possible solutions.

One woman in attendance wants to believe that her faith is enough to give her peace – she goes to church and prays – but admits that she’s still afraid of the growing violence.

“I believe in God, but I am still afraid of what is going on,” said resident Lynda Jenks. “I am afraid to go off very far, for very long. I am afraid of break-ins. I am afraid.”

Sheriff Rollins then gives the most succinct, best counsel I’ve seen from a LEO concerning your own safety.

“When I am out with my family, even though I am a cop, I don’t go anywhere without a gun,” Rollins said during a speech at the meeting. “I mean it’s sad we have to have that attitude, but I am going to protect myself and my family. I want my deputies at your house just as fast as they can when you got a problem, but you better be able to take care of business until we get there if you have to protect your family.”

For the poor lady who is (justifiably) scared, I know it’s tough, but I don’t think that is the best posture for her or anyone else.  I recommend that we remove emotion, fear and even vigilantism from the calculus, and see the need to own and bear arms not it terms of a failure to trust God (she obviously has had some bad teaching somewhere along the line), but rather in terms of positively trusting God.

God has told us that we must be able and ready to defend ourselves and our families, and refusal to do so is a failure to believe in His promises that mankind will face evil until He returns.  In other words, I see things exactly opposite her, and it is my view that she should find liberating and empowering, rather than the pacifist belief that God will protect us no matter how foolish we are.

Good for Sheriff Rollins.

A Desperate Cry From Iraq’s Christians

BY Herschel Smith
7 months, 1 week ago

Breitbart:

Iraq’s Christian leaders have just made a desperate cry for help. Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako, head of Iraq’s Catholic church, has issued an appeal “to all who have a living conscience in Iraq and all the world.”

The situation for Iraq’s Christians has been steadily deteriorating ever since the 2003 invasion, in part because the U.S. never acknowledged that Christians were being targeted by Islamists and did not prioritize protection of Christians or other minorities.

But with the recent sweep through Mosul and other Iraqi cities by the jihadi group ISIS, Iraq’s Christians look to be on the verge of genocide.

On June 16th it was reported that ISIS had marked the doors of Christians in red. Patriarch Sako’s letter confirms that rumor. While no one yet knows what this ominous sign foretells, Sako and other Christian leaders are pleading with the world to intervene before the meaning of the sign is made clear.

Oh, I think the meaning is clear.  Convert, pay jizya, or die.  Of course America ignored the plight of the Christians during “Operation Iraqi Freedom.”  The leadership didn’t care.

Nor does the leadership care today.  In fact, it runs well beyond political leadership to church leadership.  While we listen to sermons of introspection and the social gospel, Christians around the world are slaughtered.  When is the last time you even heard a prayer in a worship service for the suffering Christians worldwide?

American “Christians” are too busy trying to disarm each other (when we should be trying to arm each other and prepare for conflict), or focused on the disembowelment of what’s left of Christian theology in America to notice that fellow believers are dying or to say a thing about it.  Soft and weak, we are.  And very self centered.

Shame on the weak, pathetic, pitiful, disgusting, repulsive American Christianity.  Shame, now and in eternity.


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